As an Early Years teacher, I had to have an ideas bank brimming with exciting activities for each new day with my class of expectant 5 year olds. How do you come up with a never- ending stream of activities? In time it becomes second nature and you equip yourself with hours of reading, visiting bookshops, buying endless art and craft supplies, looking into nature and web research. That said, many of my best ideas would pop into my mind whilst in the shower and off I would go to work, ready for a fun-filled new day.
Fast forward to running my own business and I am often asked where my inspiration comes from for our new flavour combinations. Well, I think my background in Early Years teaching paved the way to being open to finding ideas in many different places. Read on to find out about my favourite places that get my creative juices flowing.
Some might say if you are friend of the Gourmet Brownie team you are a friend of sweet treats. Friends and family have the arduous task ( well only if you don’t love cake ) of keeping me company visiting coffee shops, farm shops, delicatessens and restaurants to enjoy their offerings and to spot any new trends or flavour combinations.
I pick up in-store recipe guides and magazines to read about trends in ingredients and flavours. My favourite by far is published by Waitrose, I love the crisp photography and the clear presentation of seasonal ingredients.
My husband probably feels he has a one-to-one relationship with the local Amazon courier who can be seen frequently delivering the latest cookery book. What fills time better than a new cookery book and an afternoon cup of Earl Grey tea. I love the feel of crisp, new pages and the sense that, turning each page opens you up to a world of new ideas, flavours and recipes.
On a more local note …… a morning visit to my nearby bookshop Topping & Co is another treat. I could lose myself for hours in this superb store, either in the beautifully curated children’s department or their extensive cookery department. They also run an amazing events diary - so this Autumn I am off to listen to Yotam Ottolenghi at Ely Cathedral.
We enjoy a strong presence on Instagram and I enjoy following accounts that concentrate on delicious food, cakes and also flowers. I particularly enjoy the accounts using seasonal, healthy ingredients to create flavour-filled dishes. @halfbakedharvest is my current favourite for family meals and dinners with friends.
I am also in quiet awe of the amazing photographers that take stunning pictures of simple ingredients and the delicious looking recipes they have created from them. These highlight the simplicity of flavours and the beauty of working with what nature has provided in season.
Please take a look at a couple of my favourite instagram feeds.
So as you can see, I collect ideas from a myriad of places, and mostly I just let them simmer away below the surface in my day dreams until a new idea pops to the forefront.
Or sometimes they come as a flash of inspiration in the shower !!